She Longed for Babies for a Decade, Lost Them Both in Seconds

Palestinian woman lost her husband, newborn twins, other family members in Israeli strike
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 4, 2024 8:13 AM CST
It Took a Decade to Have Her Twins, Seconds to Lose Them
Palestinians look at the destruction after an Israeli strike on a residential building in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Sunday, March 3, 2024. WARNING: FOLLOWING IMAGES INCLUDE DEAD BODIES.   (AP Photo/Hatem Ali)

It took 10 years and three rounds of in vitro fertilization for Rania Abu Anza to become pregnant, and only seconds for her to lose her five-month-old twins, a boy and a girl. An Israeli strike hit the home of her extended family in the southern Gaza city of Rafah late Saturday, killing her children, her husband, and 11 other relatives and leaving another nine missing under the rubble, according to survivors and local health officials. She had woken up at around 10pm to breastfeed Naeim, the boy, and went back to sleep with him in one arm and Wissam, the girl, in the other. Her husband was sleeping beside them. The explosion came an hour and a half later, the AP reports. The house collapsed.

"I screamed for my children and my husband," she said Sunday, as she sobbed and cradled a baby's blanket to her chest. "They were all dead. Their father took them and left me behind." Of the 14 people killed in the Abu Anza house, six were children and four were women, according to Dr. Marwan al-Hams, director of the hospital where the bodies were taken. In addition to her husband and children, Rania also lost a sister, a nephew, a pregnant cousin, and other relatives. Farouq Abu Anza, a relative, said about 35 people were staying at the house, some of whom had been displaced from other areas. He said they were all civilians, mostly children, and that there were no militants among them.

Rania and her husband, Wissam, both 29, spent a decade trying to get pregnant. Two rounds of IVF had failed, but after a third, she learned she was pregnant early last year. The twins were born on Oct. 13, less than a week after the Hamas attack on southern Israel. Her husband, a day laborer, was so proud when the twins were born that he insisted on naming the girl after himself, Rania said. "I didn't get enough of them," she said. "I swear I didn't get enough of them."

(More Israel-Hamas war stories.)

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